Available in 2021
Course code



20 units



Course handbook


Human society as it is today would not be possible without language. Institutions, relationships and human achievements all rely on the trait that is unique to humans - language. This course provides an introduction to the study of human language, known as linguistics.

Most of us are not aware of the enormous number of language choices we make every day and this course will give students insight into some of these choices. It investigates features that all languages have in common, how we construct what we speak and write every day, how children acquire language, how we communicate in society, how language differs from animal communication, how people convey meaning in language, Australian Aboriginal languages, how Australian English developed and what makes it different to other varieties of English, the sounds of language and how they are used, how language, culture and society are related, how words and languages are created, how gender plays a role in language, and how the brain is vital to language. Although the main language of study is English, examples from many other languages are given with the intention of providing an understanding of the features that all languages share.

The course also aims to engage students in a learning experience of language through various approaches catering for different learning styles. Students are encouraged to engage in objective analysis of various aspects of language, and they will be given the opportunity to develop skills necessary for undergraduate study through the embedded explicit teaching of academic literacies.

Availability2021 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2021


  • Semester 2 - 2021

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Develop academic research and writing skills appropriate for tertiary study.

2. Use linguistic terminology and concepts accurately.

3. Explain theory and concepts with original examples.

4. Identify and explain fundamental theoretical and applied aspects of Linguistics.

5. Gain an awareness of interpersonal and social aspects of language.

6. Critically analyse theories of language acquisition.


  1. What human languages have in common
  2. How language is used in society
  3. Knowing and using language
  4. The nature of human language
  5. How animal communication differs from human language
  6. How language is acquired
  7. How language varies according to region and social settings
  8. How sentences are construed
  9. How meaning is expressed with language
  10. The structure of sounds
  11. The origins and development of Australian English
  12. How the structure of words is formed
  13. How languages are born
  14. Australian Aboriginal languages
  15. Gender implications in language use
  16. The neurological basis of language


This course is not available to students who have successfully completed or are enrolled in EPHUMA148, or EPHUMA149 or EPHUMA249.

Assessment items

Quiz: Online multiple choice questions

In Term Test: Mid semester in-class exam. Multiple choice questions, short answer questions, sentence analysis

Essay: Essay

In Term Test: Final in-class exam. Multiple choice questions, paragraphs

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.